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Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault Review

Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault Box art
Publisher:Electronic Arts
Genre:First person shooter
Official Site:Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault
Release Date:November 18th 2004. (UK)
Reviewer:Ryan Sayce (Stan)
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Here at gameSlave we enjoyed the single player demo of Pacific Assault, it left us with a lot of hope for the full title. 3 months later, the full title is here. So, does it add to a long line of World War 2 shooters or is it a Turkey? Let's dig…

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The Love Boat? No, we have real men here.
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Yes, "way to go" Tommy.
You just created more war-widows.
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Limbo dancing in the jungle?
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Harry Potter grows up and plays war.

Graphically, Pacific Assault is probably the best looking WW2 fps to date, but somehow fails to be as immersive as Call of Duty and when compared to the likes of Half-Life 2 or Doom3 it begins to look somewhat antiquated.

The water and the explosions are all very good as are the models and the movement; the amount of detail you can see on your team mates faces is really quite impressive, if a little flat.

MoH:PA also has some really nice effects, like when you use the binoculars there is a slight blur as your eyes adapt to the zoom, a similar blurring effect occurs after firing a large calibre weapons for a while, and also when you are badly hurt the screen goes black and white and looks like a scene from a film. Generally, these are nice touches.

However with all these pretty special effects comes the need for a very powerful computer; even with a relatively high spec rig, I have to run it in medium detail and still notice horrible slow down and lag. Even when you have high fps the mouse still feels very laggy, this has improved a little since the release of the version 1.1 patch, but not enough for me.

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Wake up soldier,
the next level has finished loading!
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As with all next-gen games,
the obligatory Magic Carpet level
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I'm fine, but the hat's scuffed. Get me a medic!
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Err... boom?

When we took a look at the demo we were very pelased with the sound, nothing has changed, it's still excellent, lots of nice little environmental noises that really make a difference. Top marks for sound, everything sounds you like you think it should, your own weapon firing is solid and meaty, cries and screams sound genuine and realistic.

The demo felt quite like an arcade game, we hoped this was just that particular map, unfortunately not, the entire game has an arcade feel and what's worse it is really quite linear, with only the odd extra path to be taken. Even more annoying are the invisible walls which keep you from straying even a small distance from where you are meant to go, you spend most of the game feeling like you are being funneled down a tube.

Indeed, these invisible walls crop up all the way through the game and really destroy any sense of immersion. They also tend to lead to a head on style gameplay with no real chance of using tactics, such as flanking, and more or less preclude the stealth option.

Much has been said about the enemy AI in MoH:PA, and while the AI isn't bad it's definitely not great, with the enemy quite often standing out in the open for you to shoot at, and even just running straight at you in a Banzai charge when it doesn't make any sense, it can be quite easy to confuse the enemy by rushing them too. Enemy soldiers will occasionally try to flank you and throw the odd grenade, but this is nothing that hasn't been done before to much greater effect, we even get to see the enemy just drop out of the sky when they respawn, quite bizarre.

Loading times are also annoying at times, it can seem to take an age to load a new map or bring up the menu, usually at a point where you are beginning to get involved in the game, this really doesn't help.

Once you finally get into the level you notice that lots of them are quite similar and are really rather bland, while the objectives 99 percent of the time just include killing everyone or blowing something up. One of the few exceptions to this is a level where you can pilot your own fighter, what could have been a welcome diversion is ruined by the terrible controls and instead you are just waiting for the level to end. In fact, Waiting is what you will do most in this game; be it for the long load times, to waiting for that one level that will blow you away like the D-day level did on the original MOH, or most of the levels did on call of duty, but I am afraid to say I was still waiting when I completed this game and it didn't take me long at all. Yes indeed, this game is short.

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So, to sum up, should you buy this game? Well that's a difficult question - if you love your WW2 shooters, as we do, this is certainly an interesting addition to your collection. But with so many next-gen FPS games arriving soon, I find it hard to recommend this game at it's full price. Perhaps you should wait for the bargain bucket, at half price, it's a no brainer. Don't get me wrong, it is an enjoyable and occasionaly exciting addition to the FPS genre but it just doesn't bring anything new to the table and for the most part feels too much like its on rails.

Good stuff

  • Sounds great
  • Impressive looking graphics engine
  • First WWII FPS in the Pacific Theatre

Not so good stuff

  • Very scripted
  • Linear
  • Short
  • Repetetive dialogue
  • Feels very much like an arcade game
  • Excessively slow load times
  • Poor performance

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